Sunday, February 14, 2016

Corbett hires Ridge; Ridge backs Corbett

In another example of how politics tends to be an ever-connected loop, Gov. Corbett hires Gov. Ridge's lobbying firm.

Corbett hires Ridge; Ridge backs Corbett


Okay, so maybe there's no quid pro quo. And, look, it's no suprise when a former Republican governor endorses an incumbent Republican governor for reelection.


On the very day (Tuesday, Nov. 12) that Gov. Ridge stood with Gov. Corbett at an endorsement event, the Allentown Morning Call was reporting that Corbett hired Ridge's lobbying firm to represent the state's interests in Washington.

Here's the endorsement story. Here's the Call report.

Ridge and former Gov. Mark Schweiker (he took over when Ridge went to Washington as Homeland Security chief after 9/11) and, by video tape, former Gov. Dick Thornburgh, all sang Corbett's praises at an event held at a Hershey volunteer firehouse Tuesday evening.

I guess the backdrop suggests bringing in volunteers to put out the fire threatening to burn up Corbett's reelection chances.

Anyway, the exes all said nice things about the incumbent and everybody smiled.

At the same time, the Call's Washington bureau was reporting that Corbett has hired Ridge's firm, the Ridge Policy Group, run by two former Ridge top aides, Mark Holman and Mark Campbell.

This sort of makes sense since the Ridge group also is a lobbyist for the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

And the state's most recent D.C. lobbyist, now replaced by Ridge's firm, was Leslie Gromis Baker, the new Corbett chief of staff who was Ridge's reelection campaign manager. The Call reports Gromis Baker's firm was paid $120,000 in fees for the first half of 2013. The state also pays Pittsburgh-based law firm Buchanan Ingersoll to represent it in Washington.

Now some might ask whether Ridge's (presumably ongoing) support of Corbett was paid for with tax dollars. Others might ask doesn't it make sense to hire those with D.C. experience. And a few might ask why does the state government even need lobbyists to represent it before the federal government.

To all these questions I would answer something along the lines of welcome to the world of politics and government and your tax dollars at work.





Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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